AVONDALE, Ariz. – Aggressive racing led to a 13-car wreck just 66 laps into the Subway Fresh Fit 500. The result was a garage full of wrecked race cars and angry drivers.
"[No.] 17, Matt [Kenseth] just wrecked us," said Brian Vickers, whose spinning car instigated the 13-car pileup that brought out a red flag and halted the race for 14 minutes. "[He] door-slammed us coming out of the corner of Turn 2, 67 laps into a very, very long race. Felt like it was unnecessary and sure it will come back to haunt him."
Following the race, Kenseth was surprised to hear Vickers was mad.
"To be honest with you, I didn't know there was an incident," Kenseth said. "I was surprised when I got out of the car and everybody said he was mad at me. I'm not sure for what."
As repairs went on inside the garage during the race, teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton were left shaking their heads at their wrecked race cars. Bowyer said drivers were racing way too hard, way too early in the race.
"Just stupid," Bowyer said. "Driving like it's the last lap, it looked to me like. Man, we keep this up we're going to have about four cars at the end of all these races."
There were similar frustrations after a 14-car wreck less than 25 laps into last Sunday's Daytona 500. Among those taken out was Jeff Gordon, who didn't understand why some drivers were being so aggressive so early on in a 500-mile race.
Sunday's 13-car wreck at Phoenix International Raceway came just moments after pole-sitter Carl Edwards steered his wrecked car to the garage after making contact with Kyle Busch. Edwards didn't think the contact was intentional. Still, he said, it took the best car out of the race.
"My first impression was Kyle just got frustrated that Ryan [Newman] got by him and just turned down, but I looked at it and he might have just gotten loose," Edwards explained. "I'll talk to him about it.
"Regardless of what caused it, that wreck took the fastest car out of the race. That car is so fast, you guys. That is a joy to drive. I was having a blast."